No. 9 UCLA Baseball Wins Series Opener over Utah, 5-2

May 3, 2013

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Los Angeles, Calif. - The ninth-ranked UCLA Baseball team took the first game of its three-game set with Utah by a score of 5-2 over the Utes. Junior right-hander Adam Plutko earned the win with seven strong innings while junior Brian Carroll led the offense by going 2-4 with two runs and a stolen base.

Plutko scattered seven hits over his seven innings of work, giving up just two runs while striking out five and walking none. Mitch Watrous took the loss for Utah, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits in seven innings pitched. Sophomore David Berg earned his 11th save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

The Bruins struck early in the bottom of the first, getting two runs across off of Watrous to take an early 2-0 lead. After Carroll led off the inning with a bunt base hit, sophomore Kevin Kramer singled to left to advance him over to second. A passed ball moved the runners up a base, and on the next at-bat sophomore Eric Filia singled to right to score Carroll. Junior Pat Valaika then hit a sacrifice fly in foul territory to right, allowing Kramer to come home and giving UCLA a two-run lead.

After a scoreless second inning, Utah tied things up in the top of third on a two-run homer by Braden Anderson to even things up at 2-2. The tie would be short-lived though, as UCLA took the lead back in the bottom half of the inning. Carroll again led off with a base hit, and then stole second in the next at-bat. Kramer then advanced Carroll with a groundout to second before Filia brought him home with another groundout to make it 3-2 Bruins.

UCLA tacked on another run in the bottom of the fourth, when junior Pat Gallagher singled through the right side to plate senior Cody Regis and bring UCLA's lead back up to two. That would be all the run support that Plutko would need, as he kept the Utes off the board for the next three innings. Plutko would get a little help from his defense too, as Cory Hunt led off the sixth with a single to left-center for the Utes. He tried to stretch it into a double, but Carroll, Valaika and Regis combined for an 8-6-4 putout to get Hunt at second. The terrific defense wasn't done yet either, as Valaika followed that up with a terrific stop and throw from deep in the hole at short to retire Utah second baseman Kody Davis at first for the final out of the seventh.

The Bruins would add another run in the bottom of the eighth on a RBI single by sophomore Shane Zeile before Berg closed out the game in the ninth to secure the 5-2 win for UCLA.

Carroll led the UCLA offense by going 2-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base. Filia followed that up with a 1-4 night that included two RBI while Valaika went 1-3 with a run and a RBI.

The Bruins (29-13, 12-7 Pac-12) and Utes (16-24, 5-17 Pac-12) will continue their series tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. out at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Game Notes: Adam Plutko moved into a tie for fourth with Jim Parque (1995-97) on UCLA's all-time career wins list, winning his 25th career game tonight...David Berg extended his scoreless innings streak to 23.2 consecutive innings without giving up a run...Berg's 11 saves also rank as third-most in a single season by a UCLA pitcher...Brian Carroll is now 24-28 in stolen base attempts on the year...Eric Filia has now hit safely in eight of his last 10 games and has reached base safely in his last 14 games...the Bruins improved to 12-1 when they score in the first inning and 23-3 when they score first in the game.

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